The act of tying a knot is a simple one, and at the same time, it is an act that is rich in history, tradition, and pride. In the world of rope rescue, tying a knot speaks volumes. It can tell me immediately how competent the rescuer is. Is he struggling to tie a bowline? Can you see him mentally trying to incite the rabbit through the hole and around the tree? Or worse yet; does he need to get his rigging pocket guide out? Wow…I wish I could say I’m only joking, but the fact is this simple scene happens daily throughout the US.
Not just the Bowline; I wish I had a penny for every time a well intentioned, yet misinformed practitioner would suggest to me “you really only need to know how to tie a Figure Eight on a Bight for rescue work”…and yet when they tie the Figure Eight on a Bight, it has a colossal loop with a foot and a half gain; it is so miss-dressed you wouldn’t be seen in public with it…and probably…our misguided soul will not let us forget, “it MUST always have a backup knot”. Why? “I don’t know…just because…that’s how I was taught”!
This school of thought has grown deep roots in the US fire/rescue community, promoting draconian training philosophies such as; “We teach the KISS system (Keep it Simple Stupid), or “you need to dumb-it-down”; or the old standby “you need to stay in the box”. This dumb-it-down, in the box philosophy is a leading contributor to a dangerous false sense of rigging knowledge, and increased potentials for training accidents.